6 Mall Brands, 6 Styling Tips...Yes, Really!

While it's no surprise that we've been fawning over Lanvin, Miu Miu, and Balmain ads in the pages of all the September issues, we were shocked to find a few more mass contenders that made us take a nice, long double-take. Your everyday mall brands have hired the most recognizable faces in fashion and Hollywood, interpreted the runway trends we've been obsessing, but—most importantly—seriously stepped up their styling game for fall '11. Talbots, Express, even Clarks? Yep, they've all made the list, as well as several others you'll definitely want to check out. And we have the styling tips right from this new batch of mall-turned-must-have brands that you can cop—and still afford to pay rent.
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Talbots—Sophisticated, modern, yet classic—we gladly welcome back pencil skirts for fall '11. Julianne Moore sports a taupe wool version, but you can choose whichever variety you like. Leather, knit, satin: Pick your pencil poison!
Talbots Leather Pencil Skirt, $249, available at Talbots.
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BCBG—We've been ditching minis and opting for maxis, and that strategy is still working for us this fall. A simple dress in a body-skimming cut will make you feel like a million bucks—even when you've really only spent a small fraction of that.
Steal the look: BCBG Runway Joyce Long Dress, $498, available at BCBG.
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Clarks—Yes, Clarks! We can't get enough of these sophisticated yet totally charming looks. Take a note from this musical bunch and pair netted or ribbed socks with ladylike pumps. Extra points for below-the-knee color-blocking.
Steal the look: Clarks Society Bristol (in Navy Suede), $119.99, available at Clarks.
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Express—We are crazy about this monochromatic ensemble that, to be honest, is not for the faint of heart. Mix a tailored blazer, slim-cut pants, and a matching button-down in the same fiery shade for a business-ready but still sexy look.
Steal the look: Express Ultimate Double Weave 1-Button Jacket, $138, available at Express; Express Ultimate Double Weave Columnist Pant, $79.90, available at Express.
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Nine West—We love a pop of color, especially when it comes by way of some awesome wedges. Embrace Karen Elson's playful nature with vintage-inspired accessories such as T-strap, open-toe heels that you'll be wearing even after the temperature drops.
Nine West The Ghost, $149, available at Nine West.
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Ann Taylor—Will all of us age as gracefully (or, perhaps more accurately, in reverse) as Demi Moore? We can only wish. Achieving timeless style? That's a little easier. We love a neutral coat for fall, especially in the season's most popular shape: Caped slightly for easy style with a slightly avant-garde touch.
Steal the look: Ann Taylor Downtown Wool Cape, $248, available at Ann Taylor.
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